I tend to avoid discussing politics or religion as I find it uncomfortable to engage in heated debates. However, my eldest daughter, Alexandra, had introduced me to a podcast by Estee Lalonde which sparked a change in my perspective. While listening, I was initially unsettled by Nina Donovan's comment about the importance of not being apathetic during difficult times. Given the political climate in North America and the #metoo movement, I knew that I could no longer remain silent. As a mother of two strong and independent young women, I felt a responsibility to take a stand against anything that may be considered unjust or discriminatory, especially since I come from a large multicultural family and strongly believe in equality and acceptance for everyone. I kept asking myself, "What can I do?" and it occurred to me that art has long served as a catalyst for change. This is why I chose to use my voice in the best way I knew how, by empowering other women to be brave and show up in their lives. My younger daughter, Katherine, had previously suggested that I paint famous women who have influenced our lives as part of a year-long project titled "Heroes." As part of #The100DayProject, I took this idea further by painting 100 women in 100 days who personally impacted my life in some way on 8x10 gallery canvas to celebrate and honor the "nasty women" in my life. I began with a self-portrait, followed by portraits of the beautiful women in my life who stepped up to support this project.
Inglewood Art Gallery:
(Click on images below to enlarge)
NASTY WOMAN written by Nina Donovan (as read by Ashley Judd)
“I am a nasty woman.
I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust. A man whose words are a distract to America; Electoral College-sanctioned hate speech contaminating this national anthem.
I am not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is gonna rise again; maybe for some it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves just for being Black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.
I am not as nasty as a Swastika painted on a pride flag. And I didn’t know devils could be resurrected, but I feel Hitler in these streets—a moustache traded for a toupee; Nazis renamed the cabinet; electro-conversion therapy the new gas chambers, shaming the gay out of America turning rainbows into suicide notes.
I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege.
I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokémon before their bodies have even developed. I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favourite sex symbol—like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.
But yah, I am a nasty woman?!
A loud vulgar, proud woman.
I’m not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth.
I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth.
I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson: Why were the famous actors paid less than half of what the male actors earned last year? See, even when we do go into higher paying jobs our wages are still cut with blades, sharpened by testosterone. Why is the work of a Black woman and a Hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter?
This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality.
So we are not here to be debunked. We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty. I am nasty like the blood stains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me, if we could, some of us would. We don’t like throwing away our favourite pairs of underpants. Tell me, why are tampons and pads still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more than protecting the sacred messy part of my womanhood? Is the blood stain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?
I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country.
I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life I have been zipping up my smile hoping you don’t think I wanna unzip your jeans.
I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.
And our pussies ain’t for grabbin’. Therefore, reminding you that our balls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sheikh—you name it—for new generations of nasty women. So if you are a nasty woman or love one who is, let me hear you say, hell yeah!”